Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on Wednesday said lawmakers are hunting for $320 billion in new revenue to finance a broad health reform bill likely to cost about $1 trillion over the next decade. The balance of the tab, about $700 billion, comes largely from savings inherent in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which members said are mostly locked-in.
Committee members have been working from a shifting menu of options that could be used individually or in pairs to help raise new dollars to pay for the bill. One option, which would tax employer-sponsored health benefits, has ebbed and flowed in popularity among Democrats and Republicans alike. Baucus and other Finance Committee members said such a provision remains in play despite an increasingly vocal chorus of opposition.